≡ Menu

Interview with Dave Felix, Traveling Sonographer and President of SonoTemps Inc.

Dave and Ellen Felix, founders of SonoTemps, Inc.

“I love talking about ultrasound,” says Dave Felix, who has been a registered sonographer (RDMS) for more than 15 years. In 1995, Felix established SonoTemps Inc. with his wife Ellen (who brought her extensive experience in health information management to the company). The Florida- based staffing agency sends out its skilled and qualified traveling sonographers all over the country and Felix himself has performed ultrasound examinations in over 50 different hospitals. SonoTemps Inc. also provides other medical imaging services, like mammography and CAT scans, but Felix says ultrasound is what’s most in demand and makes up about 90% of his business. In this interview, Felix describes his love for the profession, what it’s like to work as a traveling sonographer and gives some advice for those thinking of entering the profession (which Felix considers to be one big family).

Q: What made you decide to pursue an ultrasound career?

DF: I was in my late 30s and was interested in a career change. My wife and friends worked in healthcare and it seemed like a logical direction to go. I checked out Ultrasound Diagnostic School (later named “Sanford Brown”) in Tampa, which had a one year program, and immediately enrolled.

Q: When did you start SonoTemps and what do you enjoy most about running this company?

DF: I didn’t plan on being an entrepreneur. I worked for a couple of temp agencies in the early 1990s and figured that a company devoted to sonographers would be a good idea, so I incorporated SonoTemps. I have a capable, hardworking staff that help me run SonoTemps. One of the best parts of business ownership is working with so many wonderful and talented sonographers.

Q: What is a traveling sonographer/ultrasound technician?

DF: It’s very similar to traveling nurses. If there is a scarcity and a need, then you have to get them from somewhere, so you go to a temp agency. Ultrasound is the same thing. Mostly our sonographers get called out to hospitals. There may be three ultrasound machines at a hospital, let’s say, and somebody goes on maternity leave. So they have to do something for that third machine, so they have to bring in a temp. The reasons for temp staffing could be that somebody just gave their two weeks notice, it could be maternity, medical leave, somebody takes a two-week vacation—it could be a lot of reasons. A traveling employee’s day is really no different than a permanent employee. In fact, after a period of time they become part of the family.

Q: What do you like best about this type of traveling position?

DF: Seeing the USA and getting paid for it. I still find traveling to new areas of the country exciting. Rural towns are quaint and friendly and scenic, and metropolitan areas have lots of stuff to do.

Q: What is most challenging?

DF: The pressure of a new assignment: Learning new computer systems, protocols, people’s names, etc. usually without a lot of orientation.

Q: What is most rewarding about being a sonographer?

DF: It is rewarding for me, and for any experienced sonographer, when we find pathology before anybody else. Not that we wish bad things upon people, but if we find a problem, we can advance the diagnosis a lot quicker and this person can get treatment. For instance, there have been a couple instances where I found ectopic pregnancies (the baby is not in the uterus where it belongs.) Well sometimes, time is very valuable and it can be lifesaving. That person’s vitals could be declining and they call a sonographer in the middle of the night and sure enough there is an embryo or fetus out in the adnexa (the pelvic area). So you feel good about that because you never know—you may have saved a life. As sonographers, we know what normal pathology looks like, so we’re scanning and hunting for anything that doesn’t look right and we look really hard and there’s a lot of technique to it. When your hand moves that transducer around and then your mind sees it and there’s a connection between your hand, the subtle movements…it takes time for that to develop. A lot of people develop it into an art form, which is really cool. Some people who are very smart never really get it and I don’t think they become that great a sonographer. But I see ultrasound as an art or it should be done as an art form.

Q: Do you have any advice for people considering an ultrasound career?

DF: There are so many routes to go. Ultrasound is a big world. Basically you’ve got your heart-vascular people and then you have people like me that are in general ultrasound, which means abdomen, OB/GYN and some vascular. So you tend to go one way or the other I notice. But then some people do all kinds of ultrasound…Do your homework, learn as much as you can and talk to working sonographers about this career. Most of all you’ve got to love what you’re doing.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

DF: The outlook for ultrasonographers looks strong as it is a relatively inexpensive and effective imaging modality.  If I can be of service to anyone considering a career in ultrasound, please don’t hesitate to call me at 800-990-6224. www.sonotemps.com

Ultrasound Physics: How To Master The Challenging Concepts

Ultrasound Physics: How To Master The Challenging Concepts

Candice Sellers, B.S., RDMS – Contributor Students attending ultrasound school consistently report that ultrasound physics is one of the most difficult courses in their program. It’s a required course and one that is important to master. Below you will find study tips and tools available to students to help them focus and hone in on How I Mastered Ultrasound Physics

Tips For Avoiding Musculoskeletal Injuries in Sonographers

Tips For Avoiding Musculoskeletal Injuries in Sonographers

By Adrienne Hardy, RDMS (Ab, Ob/Gyn) – Contributor According to the SDMS, 90% of sonographers will sustain a work related musculoskeletal disorder; 20% will have a career ended because of the injury. With numbers this high it seems like it’s an inescapable truth that you must scan in pain or get injured at some point, Most Common Injuries in Sonographers

Surviving and Thriving in Sonography School

Surviving and Thriving in Sonography School

By Adrienne Hardy, RDMS (Ab, Ob/Gyn) – Contributor As I sat in my entrance interview for sonography school the professors spattered me with questions: “Do you have enough savings? What is your home like? How do you manage your time? Do you have someone who cares about your success and will support you in hard Surviving and Thriving in Sonography School

Interview with Sonographer Carlos Reveles, RDMS

Interview with Sonographer Carlos Reveles, RDMS

We recently had the pleasure of speaking with Carlos Reveles, a high risk Ob/Gyn sonographer.  In this interview, Carlos shares with us what led to him being recently recognized as a standout sonographer by his employer, and what it’s like being a male in a traditionally female field.  Welcome Carlos! Hello my Name is Carlos Explore Carlos’s Sonography Journey

Passing the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Exam

Tips on Passing the SPI

Adrienne Hardy, RDMS (Ab, Ob/Gyn) – Contributor I clicked submit on the SPI physics exam and ran out the the room. The test proctor handed me a piece of paper with a huge scared looking picture of myself taken before the exam, my ARDMS number and the results of my SPI examination. My hand shook as Passing the Sonography Principles and Instrumentation Exam

Stressed Sonography Student

How To Manage The Stress of Ultrasound School

Candice Sellers, B.S., RDMS – Contributor The Ultrasound School Experience Ultrasound school is a very exciting and rewarding experience. The excitement of finally reaching your goal of getting accepted into an accredited ultrasound program is certainly a tremendous milestone! However, there will be moments of frustration and stress that will occur during your journey in How I Managed Stress While in My Sonography Program